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Term Paper on Leadership

Term Paper Contents:

  1. Term Paper on the Definition on Leadership
  2. Term Paper on the Characteristics of Leadership
  3. Term Paper on the Functions of Leadership
  4. Term Paper on Formal and Informal Leaders
  5. Term Paper on Leadership Styles

Term Paper # 1. Definition on Leadership:

Leadership is a process of influence on a group. A manager must be capable of leading the group working under him for inspiring team work for the accomplishment of organisational objectives. It is a technique of getting things done through people in an organised setting for achieving organisation’s objectives. It is a process of interaction involving the manager, his group of subordinates and the task situation.


A manager is the leader of his subordinates by virtue of the net influence which he exerts over the latter’s behaviour and performance. Leadership is a set of qualities or attributes like intelligence, initiative imagination, integrity, self-confidence and decisiveness. It is a pattern of behaviour backed by a set of attitudes and values which managers exhibit in organisations.

So the concept of leadership focusses on three main aspects namely:

i. The process,

ii. The power and


iii. Influence.

As a process it concentrates on directing and influencing the task related abilities of group members. As power it is the ability to exert influence on the attitudes of subordinates by effecting a change on their behaviour. This is done with the help of authority and responsibility. As an influence it is responsible for achieving the predetermined objectives.

Leadership is a process of influencing the subordinates so that they co­operate enthusiastically in the achievement of group goals. To support our views let us refer to some of the definition of well-known authorities.

Koontz and O’Donnell write. “Leadership is the ability of a manager to induce subordinates to work with confidence and zeal.”


Louis. A. Allen defines a leader as “One who guides and directs other people. He gives the efforts of his followers a direction and purpose by influencing their behaviour.”

George R. Terry States “Leadership is the relationship in which one person, the leader, influences others to work together willingly on related tasks to attain that which the leader desires.”

According to Theo Haimann:

“Leadership is the process by which an executive imaginatively directs, guides and influences the work of others in choosing and attaining specified goals by mediating between the individuals and organisation in such a manner that both will obtain maximum satisfaction.”


Leadership may be defined as a psychological process of influencing followers and providing guidance to them. To be effective, a leader should change his leadership style depending on the requirements of the situation. The leadership process consist of three things, the leader—the follower and the situation. The essence of leadership is followership.

Term Paper # 2. Characteristics of Leadership:

An analysis of the above definitions of leadership enables us to identify the following characteristics:

(i) Leadership is a Process of Influence:

It is a process whose important element is the influence exercised by the leader on the group members. This is possible only when the group willingly accepts his advice and guidance. Successful leaders are able to influence the behaviour, attitudes and beliefs of their subordinates.

(ii) It is Related to a Situation:

This means leadership styles will be different under different set of circumstances. At one point of time, the subordinates may accept the autocratic behaviour of the leader but in different point of time and under different set of circumstances only participative leadership may be successful. So leadership is always particular and not general.

(iii) Leadership is the Function of Simulation:


It is the function of motivating people to strive willingly to achieve organisational objectives. Leaders are considered successful only when they are able to subordinate individual interest of employees to the general interest of the organisation. By achieving this congruency the workers are stimulated to function enthusi­astically.

(iv) Leadership Gives an Experience of Helping to Achieve Organisational Goals:

This means every subordinate in the organisation is made to feel important irrespective of his position achieving organisational objectives. This is possible only when managers make every employee to feel and inspire their importance and the activities performed by them.

(v) Employees, Trust and Confidence of Leaders Influence Them:

A good manager should always know the fact leadership is a shared function. He shares everything in performance with his followers- he shares credit, he shares ideas, opinion, experience and shares the blame as well. He must be aware of the fact that employees’ productivity can be increased by pressure or force only in the short run and not in the long-term. He should always remember the fact that force generates counter-force. So with the eye on long-term interest he has to function.

Term Paper # 3. Functions of Leadership:

In dealing with employees the manager has to play different leadership roles.


They are:

(i) Acts as Planner:

The manager is responsible for planning and policy making. He determines the group objectives, policies and programmes for achieving them.

(ii) Act as Educator:

They teach employees not only job skills but also organisational values and acceptable behaviour. The work habits, attitudes and behaviour of management leaders serve as a role model to the followers. He must be a good trainer.

(iii) Act as a Counselor:

A manager listens, gives advice, prevent and solve problems faced by employees. He must be aware of the problems of the employees and assist in solving them. By this he creates confidence in the minds of subordinates. He inspires team work and secures maximum co­operation from the employees. He is responsible for proper utilization of human resources.

(iv) He Acts as a Judge:


He has to perform the following functions:

(i) Evaluate the performance of subordinates.

(ii) Enforce policies, procedures and regulations.

(iii) Settle disputes.

(iv) Dispenses justice.

The first one related to the staffing function of management and the rest come under direction. He acts as a modifier of behaviour of subordinates. He directs the actions of subordinates.

(v) He is the Co-Ordinator:


The leader acts as the cohesive force which holds the group intact and develops a spirit of unity. He acts as the arbitrator and mediator in resolving conflicts and he is the controller of internal relations.

(vi) He is the Spokesperson of the Group:

He is the representative of the group. As a representative he has to relay their suggestions, concerns and point of view to higher authorities. He takes initiative in all matters concerning the group. He is the symbol of the group and father figure for his followers.

Term Paper # 4. Formal and Informal Leaders:

A manager should also be a good leader. Every manager is not able to provide the kind of leadership as desired by his subordinates. So informal leaders emerge in organisations.

A formal leader is one who possesses organisational authority to direct and control the activities of his subordinates. He issues orders and instructions to subordinates by virtue of his formal authority in the organisation.

The informal leader is a person who without any formal position of authority in the organisation is able to influence imaginatively the behaviour of other members of the group who are willing to submit to his leadership.

This is not based on rational calculations but, on feelings and beliefs of the members of the group. The group may also be induced by boastings and statements of potential leaders. Members of the group will look to him for guidance and, if need be, protection.


Management is not to ignore or to suppress informal leaders. Suppression leads to antagonistic attitude towards management, reduces the morale of the employees and develops informal leaders. So it is advisable to make a better use of informal leaders. The manager is to develop good relationship with informal leaders and should know how to make use of them. This can be done by passing necessary information’s to them first, seek their advice on technical and human problems and ask them to train others.

Term Paper # 5. Leadership Styles:

Leadership style refers to a leader’s behaviour. The various patterns of behaviour favoured by leaders during the process of directing and influencing workers are known as leadership style.

It is the result of leader’s philosophy, personality, experience and value system. It also depends on the types of followers in the organisation.

Different leadership styles recognised in management literature are:

(1) Authoritarian

(2) Democratic


(3) Free-Rein

(4) Paternalistic.  

(1) Authoritarian:

Other name Autocratic leader.

He gives orders which he insists shall be obeyed. He determines the policies for the group on his own and tells the group to implement it. He gives personal praise or criticism to each member on his own initiative and remains aloof from the group for the major part of time.

The leader who adopts this style is of the opinion that decision making is his prerogative to decide and order subordinate’s obligation to do what they told to carry out. He does not give the subordinates the freedom to influence his behaviour.

This style of leadership is sub-divided into two categories:


(i) Oppressive or dictatorial style

(ii) Benevolent autocratic style.  

In the first approach the leader influences subordinates through negative motivation. That is, he carries out decisions through fear, threats, punishment, penalties etc. The leader is vested with unlimited powers and his relationship with subordinates consists of doing what they are told without questioning their superior.

In the second case he tries to emphasize task-orientation. These leaders take into consideration the wishes, feelings and needs of subordinates as assessed by the leader in spite of the leader’s unlimited powers.

Some of the features of this approach are:

(a) Delegates little authority.


(b) Exercises close supervision.

(3) Makes most of the decisions.

(c) Gives detailed instructions and directions.

(d) Subordinate’s suggestions and ideas are not sought or considered.

(e) Uses coercion as a means for getting the job done.

(f) Emphasises production.

(g) Permits little or no initiative to subordinates.

The merits of this style are:

(a) Facilitates quick decision-making.

(b) Provides strong motivation and satisfaction to leaders.

(c) Ensures smooth and disciplined functioning.

(d) It succeeds where subordinates are incompetent and they are reluctant to take initiative.

Its demerits are:

(a) Employees dislike this when the motivation style is negative.

(b) This results in poor morale and conflict among employees and affects organisational efficiency.

This is suitable in the following cases:

(a) Such leaders can be very effective in crisis situations.

(b) Suitable to those who are untrained and incompetent and know no better way of managing.

(c) Suitable to those who are self-centered and need such a style in order to feel important.

(d) To those whose creed is authoritarianism.

(2) Democratic Style:

Other name participative style. A democratic leader is one who gives orders only after consulting the group and makes decisions after deliberations with the group. The leader is conscious of the fact that praise or blame is a matter for the group and participates in the group as a number. His decisions are not unilateral and he exercises control mostly by using forces within the group.

Some of its features are:

(a) Delegates authority and responsibility.

(b) Manages through objectives.

(c) Permits initiative and responsibility.

(d) Seeks and encourages employee suggestions.

(e) Engages in participative decision making.

(f) Emphasises production and employee satisfaction.

(g) Based on the assumption that the leader derives his power by the consent of followers who are mature and creative.

Its merits are:

(a) It facilitates dynamism in organisations.

(b) It improves attitudes of employees towards the jobs and the organisation.

(c) Facilitates better understanding between management and employees and promotes their co-operation.

(d) It improves employee morale and minimises complaints.

(e) It facilitates the development of future leaders.

Its demerits are:

(a) There is possibility for delayed decisions and the deliberations are of dilatory in nature.

(b) Participation of employees will not be complete and purposeful unless or otherwise employees understand thoroughly the complex problems of the organisation.

(c) It is not liked and suitable to employees who want minimum interaction with superiors and colleagues.

(d) It may be used to manipulate employees.

(3) Free-Rein Leadership:

Other name permissive style of leadership or Laissez-faire style.

In this case, the leader not only leads but leaves all responsibility for most of the work to his subordinates. The free rein leader avoids power. He depends largely upon the group and work out its own problems. Group members work on their motivation. The manager exists as a contact man for outsiders. The leader completely abdicates his leadership position.

Its features are:

(a) It is directionless.

(b) Emphasises neither production nor employee satisfaction.

(c) Employees are allowed to drift.

Its merits are:

(a) Motivates and improves the morale of employee by giving maximum freedom to employees.

(b) The subordinates are given maximum opportunity for development.

Its demerits are:

(a) It permits the emergence of informal leaders.

(b) The group is deprived of the leader’s inspired motivation, guidance and socio-emotional support. It ignores manager’s contribution.

(c) This can succeed only when the subordinates are highly competent and self-motivated.

(4) Paternalistic Leadership:

This approach tries to strike a balance between work-centered approach and a consideration for subordinates. The leader tends to look after subordinates the way a father does his family.

He helps, guides, protects and keeps the followers happily working together as members of a team. They insist on group performance. The leader provides the employees with good working conditions, fringe benefits and welfare facilities and services.


(a) Employees prefer this approach.

(b) The motivation and co-operation of the employees is considered good.

The main criticism is the realisation on the part of employees that they work and exist in the organisation in their own right and not out of employer’s gratitude.

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